In ‘Studying, designing, and 3D printing an operational model of the antikythera mechanism,’ authors Georgios Mavromanolakis, T Manousos, M Kechri, P. L. Kollia, G Kanellopoulos outline an educational project where students and teachers in Greece worked to design and fabricate a functional replica of the Antikythera mechanism—an intriguing and ancient relic thought to be the world’s first analog computer, created thousands of years ago. Because of its history, it is easy to see how such a design would grab the interest of STEM students just becoming interested in learning about 3D scanning, design, and printing.
STEM learning is alluring on its own—aside from the concept of creating a 2,100-year-old artifact with a fascinating and even mysterious background. The authors were able to pique the curiosity of their students with the story of a second-century B.C. ‘device’ that was found by divers in 1901, diving off Antikythera in Greece.
The level of sophistication in the mechanical device—one full of secrets, codes, and functions—allowed it to calculate astronomical data, along with information about the sun, the moon, and more. The students were hooked by the subject matter as they journeyed deep into the world of science, technology, engineering, and math.
“The mechanism also predicted lunar and solar eclipses and displayed information on periodic events of social significance in the ancient world such as the Olympiad and other important Panhellenic Games. In a nutshell, the device is a mechanical realization of the scientific knowledge and understanding of the cosmos of that epoch,” state the authors. “It is internationally known as an artefact of unprecedented human ingenuity and scientific, historic and symbolic value. Since its discovery it has inspired scientists and engineers with its degree of technical and scientific sophistication.”
The STEM course—meant for students ages 15-18—was comprised of 20 sessions, split into five segments, begun in 2014, not required, and not involving any homework or outside responsibilities. The basic mission of the class was described as: ‘study, analyze, design and build/3D print an operational model of the Antikythera Mechanism.’ The five phases of the course were defined as follows:
- Phase I – Study and analysis
- Phase II – 3D design
- Phase III – 3D printing
- Phase IV – Assembly
- Phase V – Presentation
Upon completion of the 3D printed device, the students celebrated the end of a complex project, discussing and reflecting on the process, along with delving into the different ways they were able to problem solve during the class. Afterward, they visited the National Archaeological Museum of Athens to see the fragments of the Antikythera Mechanism.
“In this course high school students are gradually introduced into the 3D printing technology, its applications and potential and are engaged in a challenging collaborative project in which they have to study, analyze, design and build an operational model of a renown ancient artefact, the Antikythera Mechanism,” concluded the authors. “To accomplish this, they acquire solid knowledge and understanding by inquiry and practice in a variety of curriculum subjects of physics, astronomy, mathematics, geometry, informatics, engineering/technology and also history and ancient Greek language.”
3D printing in the educational setting has proven time and again to be invaluable as students learn skills they can use in a career later, whether they choose to be engineers, scientists, artists, or endeavor to work in countless other fields. Today, it is rare that a student doesn’t know about 3D printing or have access to the software, hardware, and materials as classrooms around the world enjoy STEM programs related to studies of Mars, software programs geared toward educators, and a variety of different educational bundles.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source / Images: ‘Studying, designing, and 3D printing an operational model of the antikythera mechanism’]
You May Also Like
3D Printing News Briefs: July 19, 2019
We’ve got a new partnership to tell you about in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, followed by a software update and some news about 3D printing in the hospital. FIT...
Interview with Formalloy’s Melanie Lang on Directed Energy Deposition
When I met Melanie Lang at RAPID a lot of the buzz on the show floor was directed at her startup Formalloy. Formalloy has developed a metal deposition head that...
Sandvik Acquires Substantial Holdings in Beam IT—Expanding Additive Manufacturing Presence
Sandvik continues to add to their high-tech offerings, as well as expanding Sandvik Additive Manufacturing with the recent investment in Beam IT. The Sweden-headquartered engineering group, specializing in metals, additive...
PEEK, PEKK and ULTEM May Just be the 3D Printing Thermoplastics You Need in Your Life
There was definitely life before plastics, but today we can’t imagine living without them. Before they were even invented (the first synthetic polymer was developed in 1869 by John Wesley...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.